Happy (leap) Monday!

It’s Monday! Fancy that.

  1. I could just write 5 bullet points about how beautiful it was yesterday, how I didn’t need a coat to go from my car to the bridal shower (where I got to see my friends yayyy!) how I drove home from the shower with the sun roof open, or how I loaded up our car for the drive back to Kzoo in bare feet – I’m pretty sure if I only had to deal with cold/snow on Christmas Eve/Day and the rest of the year was 65 and sunny, I wouldn’t miss winter one bit. But alas, I married a skier, so that’s never gonna happen 😉 (Also Kalamazoo has a winter weather advisory tonight starting at 10pm which kind of just makes me want to cry a little bit. Come onnnn, spring!)
  2. I’ve got a handful of product reviews coming up which is always exciting. More shampoo from HASK (they must like me,) the Amopé rechargeable pedi-perfect….which is very much needed in my life, a Purr-Packs subscription box for Barb, and a face serum/moisturizer. All good things, all good things! (Well, hopefully.)
  3. Escapes currently have 0% APR which is the 100% ideal situation for buying my next car. We have to give my Edge back to Ford the second I turn 26, and being car-less isn’t really an option, so on our drive home last night (after the Oscars red carpet, of course,) we talked about when we’d start looking for good deals – and of course this morning we realize there’s a 0% APR deal going on right now. *enter eye roll emoji here* MKCs also have 0% APR right now – just sayin. (Current/realistic dream car.) Oh well, we’ll wait a bit 🙂
  4. We moved desks at work on Friday, and I’m pretty much right at the front of the building now! Major downside is that I get a little bit of a breeze from the door being open, and there’s a vent semi-blowing on me, but I’m bringing a blanket to keep the chills to a minimum. I also am right next to the plants, so my tsum tsums (with a couple of new additions, courtesy of Kaitlyn) have a cute new place to live! The plants do pose an issue though – lots of little buggies. Imma need to figure out some inconspicuous bug-trapper sometime in the near future.
  5. Saturday we went to the Huntsman Club, where I got to sit next to a big ol’ fireplace – which, if I have to deal with winter, is one of my favorite things. I also tried brussels sprouts for the first time, and while these were veryyyy different than a regular ol’ brussels sprout (very sweet, with honey, cranberries, and I’m not sure what else) – they were actually quite yummy! Hooray for slowly expanding my palette. (Working my way up towards seafood…which there will be a plethora of in Morocco.)

Arg, I really need to bring a blanket to work after lunch. I’m quite chilly. Hope everyone has a great week, and happy leap day/Monday!

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Future Travel Plans + a New Weekly Post

Moroccan Proverb
Photo from AIESEC.

Welp, we did it! We are officially going to Morocco over New Years, and I couldn’t be more excited. Is it too early to start a countdown? 308 days to go, in case you were wondering. I’m sure trip prep will infiltrate my blog every so often leading up to our departure, but I’m most looking forward to writing about the trip upon our return! (Well, no. I’m most excited about going to Morocco, but I’m also looking forward to having a trip to write about!)

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It’s practically a blizzard outside, and although I have a bit of freelance work to do tonight, all I really want to do is figure out every single possible detail I can (and watch Pretty Little Liars. It sucked me in.) I swear, if I wasn’t a graphic designer, I would absolutely be a travel agent/trip planner. Getting all the details figured out is like a high…who needs drugs when you’ve got TripAdvisor?! Topdeck has the majority of the trip taken care of, but it’s never too early to start thinking about 1) what I’m packing in, 2) how I’ll manage the daytime (warm) vs. nighttime (cold) desert situation, or 3) what we’ll be doing on our 15 hour layover in Frankfurt!

Anyway – after finalizing travel plans (learning about a trip from my dad when I was younger, or now finalizing details on my own,) I always find myself looking up quotes about travel. I’m not sure why I do it; maybe just to confirm that my passion for traveling the world is requited, that I’m following in the “wanderlusty” footsteps of so many others? I don’t know, but I have noticed that there are a handful of quotes that always resonate with me, that I ‘pick out’ time and time again…so I figured I might as well share them with the rest of the world, one week at a time!

Cue: Wanderlust Wednesdays!

Similar to the Moroccan proverb at the top of this post, I plan on posting  a quote over some of my photography (the photo of Morocco is not mine) and maybe include a little blurb of travel related…something. Whether it’s about our upcoming trip, a past trip, or maybe even a funny story from my 7th Grade Geography teacher, Rufus. I’ll try to keep it interesting 😉

Travel is a huge part of my life, so I figure it’s about time I bring a bit more of that into my blog!

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Monday, Monday, Monday.

There were shootings Saturday and Sunday night here in Kzoo...far too many sirens for one weekend. I can’t say I’m a fan, though I can’t imagine anyone would be. Hooray for a list of happy things; it is muuuch needed. I also have no fun pictures for this post, so instead I’ll attach my new phone backgrounds (lock screen and actual background) because I found them last night and they’re great.

  1. Joe is home safe and sound! That’s definitely a biggie. Lots happened while I was home alone this weekend – I don’t even think I’ve fully wrapped my mind around everything that’s happened, but I’m glad I have someone to snuggle up with again! Also, while I’m at it – thanks again to everyone that checked in to make sure I was alright – it means a lot!!
  2. We’re going back to GP this weekend, and my sister will be there too! Hooray for everyone being together…even if my sister will be a bit out of it due to post-wisdom teeth wooziness.
  3. I bought a pack of 6 white chocolate Reese’s Easter eggs at Target yesterday, and have miraculously only eaten one. I think that calls for a celebration. Hooray for self control!
  4. As you may know, I have a collection of kids books, and over the weekend I pre-ordered 3 new BabyLit board books: All Aboard: National Parks, a wildlife primer, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a faries primer, and Les Miserables, a French primerI’m sure there are better things I could be spending my ‘free money’ on, but where’s the fun in that?
  5. I’m not sure if this is a happy thing or a sad thing, but there are only 9 seats left on the flight Joe and I have been looking at for our hypothetical Morocco trip. We either have to bite the bullet and just book the trip, or….well yeah, we need to bite the bullet. I need to get my butt to Morocco one way or another. I am curious how I’ll handle two nights in the Sahara Desert though, just thinking back on my Morgan’s Rock anxiety attack experience. Ear plugs. I just need to remember to bring ear plugs. Scarab beetles can’t scare meeee (that is a lie. Maybe by December I’ll feel more confident hahahha.)

Aren’t they cute? I found them on Bando‘s website. Their stuff is all so adorable.

Anyway, it’s Monday and all is well, even if I did struggle getting into my pants this morning. Womp womp 😛

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Kazoo.

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Well, last night was certainly an eventful one…and by that I mean I got home at 11:30pm and sat on my computer browsing Facebook for about 5 minutes before reading that there was a shooter on the loose in Kzoo, targeting random people. Oh, goodie. 

6 killed, 2 injured after Kalamazoo-area shooting spree

I’m a paranoid person as it is…without adding a shooter to the mix, not to mention Joe is gone for the weekend, sooo I promptly shut off all of our lights and ‘barricaded’ myself in our bedroom with a candle, Pretty Little Liars, and a heating pad (my shoulder blades seriously hurt so bad from my massage) for the rest of the night. I woke up to a barrage of texts checking to make sure all was well – which happily, it was! Definitely keeping everyone who was affected by last night’s tragedy in my thoughts.

I really appreciate everyone that has checked in – it means a lot!

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14 Massage Thoughts…

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I got my first-ever massage in Thailand going on 10 years ago (woah.) and have had a love/hate/love relationship with them ever since. I have trouble getting my mind to just think about nothing (same reason I can’t do yoga,) and my back/neck are just so knotty and messed up that I definitely have to endure a little bit of pain to get anything accomplished. Soooo during my massage this afternoon I decided to try to keep tabs on where my mind was wandering, with some amusing results! (At least I think they’re amusing.)

  1. Yes, as much pressure as possible please. Oil me up!
  2. Hoooooly ow…too much pressure, too much pressure. But I’m going to keep my mouth shut. It’s a good hurt!
  3. Yes yes yessss get all those knots out. You’re amazing, I think I love you.
  4. This hurts. Really bad. Why am I here again?
  5. When are we getting to some butt-action?
  6. I can’t tell when this music loops. Huh.
  7. Yasssss time for my butt. Wait – that’s it? More, more, more!
  8. Did I shave my legs? I hope so.
  9. I wonder what she feels in my calf that needs all this attention?
  10. Would she be weirded out if I watched her? Probably. Keep your eyes closed, self!
  11. My skin is itchy. I hope I’m not allergic to the lotion/oil.
  12. I wonder why this room has like…an Italian countryside painted on the wall. I guess that’s relaxing…?
  13. Pleaseeee ignore my grumbly stomach. This is awkward. So sorry. Better than gas though, I suppose.
  14. There is NO way my 90 minutes are already up. I need more!

But alas, all good things must come to an end, and those 90 minutes seemed to go by quicker than the 60 I’m used to, and before I knew it I was in line at the post office discussing an old woman’s bladder habits. Relaxation can only last so long, I suppose.

Oh, and in case any Kalamazooians are reading this and wondering where I went, I went to Inspiring Hands with Stacie. Two thumbs up! 

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It’s Friday and I like wine.

Welp, this post started as a wine down wednesday post, then moved into a thirsty thursday/happy national drink wine day post, buuuut life got in the way – primarily due to an 11-hour graphic design summit for work yesterday (concluding with a viewing of Zoolander 2!) annnd now it’s just Friday which is pretty great, but as far as I’m aware Friday doesn’t have any cool drinking phrase/title to go alone with it. Friday is just that awesome…it can stand alone and everyone will still love it!

Sigh, rambling. It’s been a long week. The good news, scientists say that drinking a glass of (red) wine before bed is good for your health! Shout out to you, resveratrol – the real MVP.

Anyway! Wine! A while back – maybe a year or so ago, one of my friends that lives in California mentioned to me that the drought that California has been dealing with has also been affecting the hundreds (thousands?) of wineries that exist throughout the state. Maybe they’re not using the cleanest water, or they’re adding things to the water that we just don’t want to be consuming, I don’t even remember the specifics of what he said. Whether or not this is true? I have no idea. I haven’t done much research at all, but I decided that I would stop buying wines from California if they were bottled after 2014, kind of as a challenge to myself (which yes, means sometimes I have to pay more than $8 for a bottle of wine,) but also just as a way to stay cognizant of what I may or may not be putting in to my body. If Joe and I are going through a bottle of wine in a week (hey, it happens on occasion) I’d like to feel 100% confident that what we’re drinking doesn’t have trace elements of arsenic (or poopy water. Yep, I said it.)

As some background: I used to be one of those people that would make a scrunched up face after drinking the tiny cup of wine at communion – until we visited my sister in South Africa, where we spent an entire day drinking our way through the winelands of Stellenbosch and some other towns I can’t quite remember. Well, that and realizing that if everyone else on social media drinks wine while watching the Bachelor, it can’t be that bad! (Kidding. Kind of.)

Okay back to avoiding California wines. So this challenge has in fact beenwell, challenging: almost all of the best labels (I’m suchhhhh a sucker for good labels) at Target were from California in 2015. There were a few outliers, but in varieties I didn’t like, or simply out of our budget. Enter: Club W. A few weeks ago two of my friends were talking about the wines they were going to be getting in the mail..and as soon as they mentioned I’d get a free bottle with my first order, I was sold. I’m easily convinced when it comes to things I like, what can I say?

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Club W does have a huuuge selection of California wines, but also a pretty wide variety of wines from other countries…Chile, Argentina, Spain, Italy, France…etc. – and enough of those ‘other’ wines to make good a good selection for my box. I really appreciate that there’s a small description along with where the wine is from easily accessible from the main screen – it makes choosing my 3 wines much easier…even though sometimes that requires me passing up a great label. The prices are great too – primarily $13 bottles, with an occasional higher price point for wines that would generally sell for more in a store. And I gotta say, waiting for a shipment of wine at work definitely makes the day better (they need someone 21+ to sign for the delivery, so it can’t be delivered to our house.)

My first 3 bottles of wine - One From the Quiver went to my mom for her birthday, and as far as I'm aware, she liked it! The other two are yummy too :)

My first box o’ wine included:

One from the Quiver – 2015 Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina (went to my mumsie for her bday)

Sapore Locale – 2014 Falanghina from Campania, Italy

Les Bobos – 2014 Carignane from Minervois, France

I didn’t even know Falanghina or Carignane were types of wine! They’re all yummy though, and I already have my 3 wines picked out for next month (Alma Libre 2014 Red Blend from Chile, One From the Quiver 2015 Torrontes from Argentina, and L’Atelier du Sud 2014 Sauvignon Blanc from France) 🙂 Definitely a special treat for me and Joe – it keeps the guesswork out of finding a wine we think we’ll like (and let’s be honest, saves about 10-15 minutes during any given shopping trip!)

A few details: 1) If I’ve intrigued you, and you sign up using this link, we both get a $13 credit (which means a free bottle of wine for both of us! Woohoo!) 2) It is a monthly subscription, so if you forget about it, you’ll still be charged/sent a package of 3 wines that they’ve chosen for you. So remember to either skip the month, or choose your wines if you don’t like surprises!

Whew. Who’d’ve thought I could ramble on about wine for this long? Not me! If you sign up, let me know what wines you chose – I’m curious! Also if you’re thinking to yourself “Claire, you’re crazy, California wines are just fine” feel free to let me know that too 😉

Hope everyone has super fun weekend plans – I’m highly highly looking forward to tomorrow’s 90 minute massage.

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It’s Monday, Be Happy!

Welp, I was 30 minutes late for work today because the one road that leads to work was closed, and I don’t know the area well enough yet to figure out a good detour. It was a bit tragic. But hey, I’ve got lots of other things going for me! Let’s start off with the best news of the day:

  1. I can actually look at flights to Marrakech for the time we would be traveling (instead of a few weeks before.) Unfortunately this doesn’t mean finding a good flight is any easier. We always fly Delta, but Delta only flies in to Casablanca, meaning we’d have to take a local flight to Marrakech…which I’d like to avoid. Lufthansa has a flight to Marrakech, but it only shows up on Expedia, not through their website…and again, I’d really like to get Delta miles if at all possible…which may result in a Delta flight to Europe, and Lufthansa flight to Marrakech. I need to spend some time figuring that out. I texted my dad this morning for backup (bringing in the big guns)…he’s the official Dossin family trip planner, so he might have some helpful insight. I’m also not sure he was aware that Joe and I were tossing around the idea of a New Year’s trip to Morocco…so, surprise, Dad!
  2. Barb has almost completely stopped meowing at our door! I have a feeling that’ll change when we leave her for the weekend (next weekend) but hey, uninterrupted sleep is great. Her ear drop medication is also almost done — she’s starting to realize that when I give her like 3 treats in a row with something hidden in my other hand that something is up. Only 2 more days!
  3. Joe and his friend(s? tbd) are going skiing in Canada this upcoming weekend, and I’ve taken that opportunity to book myself a 90 minute massage! It’s much, much needed, since I feel like something is screwed up in my shoulder/neck any time I put anything on over my head that’s even remotely fitted (yeah, that’s fun.) Anyway, I’m excited.
  4. I have a lunch meeting today with Jimmy John’s being provided. I always get the Slim 6 with no Capicola (so yes, just bread, salami, and cheese) but today I’m completely switching it up, and going with the #12 Beach Club. IIIIIIII know, it’s a big deal. Crazy things happening over here in Kalamazoo.
  5. I know I wrote about this yesterday, but I got two more pairs of the comfiest leggings in the world, and I’m just super excited about it. I’m also excited about the greeting cards I ordered from The Detroit Card Co. They’re having a grab bag sale, and I was on that like….shoot. I can’t think of that phrase. White! Like white on rice. Yes I was.

 

I hope everyone’s weeks are off to a fantastic start, happy Monday!!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wellllll, after being woken up for a yummy Valentine’s Day breakfast (Raspberry Lemon Dutch Baby – Parents Magazine) and selfie stick (!) (and pretty flowers/bottle of wine) I gave Joe full control of the Apple TV remote – quite a thoughtful gift, right? I thought so 😉 His first choice was A Faster Horse – a documentary on the creation of the 2015 Mustang that we actually saw in a Dearborn theater courtesy of Ford, but it was still just as interesting 🙂

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Before he started on breakfast, Joe called a local restaurant (Rustica) that has a ‘day-of’ reservation policy, and set up dinner plans – and although that means getting out of leggings, I’m super excited!

Speaking of leggings…I got the comfiest pair of leggings EVER a couple weeks ago from the outlets outside of Grand Rapids…for $7!! So I decided to see if American Eagle had any more – and lo and behold, they were still online! $9 instead of $7, but considering I’ve been wearing these leggings after work basically every day since I got them, an additional $2 was totally worth it.

I’ve also been talking about replacing all of my bras, since I’m pretty sure the newest bra I’ve purchased was at least 3 years ago, but I’m thinking closer to 5? Either way, my bra-selection is in dire need of an upgrade, and what better day to buy new bras than on Valentine’s day?! I ended up getting 4 bras for only $16.50 each – it doesn’t get much better than that.

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treat yo self.

Anyway, Joe is taking a well-deserved nap and I’m catching up on Dance Moms while trying to figure out what disaster has struck my personal/graphic design website. It has resorted back to the “website” I made when learning HTML, and the email associated with that website hasn’t worked since February 3rd. Sigh. Hopefully I can get it figured out sooner rather than later, but at least I’m not applying for jobs/relying on my website right now!! We’ve got an hour to figure out what to wear to dinner tonight…the 7 degree real-feel temperature is not really working in my favor…brrrr.

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Review: KitNip Box

Joe gets the FiveFourClub subscription box, I get Birchbox…so we thought it was only right that Barb got a monthly subscription box of her own, right?

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Wellllll, maybe not. I was super excited to try KitNip Box, because despite the fact that our house is already full of cat toys and treats, new things are always fun and I’ve seen lots of good things come from BarkBoxes (the equivalent for dogs.) So when it arrived – the day we were taking Barb to the vet for a whole slew of uncomfortable things – I was glad we’d have fun things for her to look forward to playing with when we got home! Except…that wasn’t really the case. I did get this box at a discount, but I gotta say, I’d be super disappointed paying full price for what was in the box:

  • all natural cat treats (which we’ve tried a few varieties of, and Barb just doesn’t like them)
  • catnip (okay that’s fine, even though we just bought some)
  • a yoga cats mini calendar (no real use for it, sadly)
  • strawberry toy on a string
  • bandaid (?) toy (what.)

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That’s all. $20 for things you could probably get for $10-$12 at any given pet store/Target. Luckily Barb loved the Band-Aid toy (though I’m still a bit confused as to why a felt band-aid was in the box in the first place,) but I paid less than that for a whole slew of adorable Star Wars toys that she loves just as much. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ What can I say? I like feeling as though I’ve gotten my money’s worth!

If you have money you want to spend on your kitty, and are interested in what was in this box (I think I’d be a little less disappointed if Joe and I hadn’t JUST bought catnip the previous night, or if Barb liked the all-natural/moist treats….) you can use this code to get 15% off your first box: WOC15 

After the mild disappointment of the KitNip Box, I started looking at other monthly boxes aimed at cats, thinking maybe I’d do a comparison to see which is best…but they just all seemed far too expensive for what you were getting. We’ll just stick with being a two-subscription box family, and pick up cute toys as we see them – sorry, Barb! (Though I’ve now done one month of Club W, and wouldn’t mind continuing that box..but that’s a blog post for another time.)

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Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr purr purr.

Hopefully everyone is having a fantastic Valentine’s Day! I know mine has been perfect so far!!

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Bucket List – Travel

So between my 7th grade geography teacher’s most recent trip report (Ethiopia) and some serious daydreaming about a potential, very hypothetical end of year Morocco trip through Topdeck my travel bug all sorts of agitated (in the very best way.) Joe and I talked travel for a lot of our drive back to Kzoo last night, and I found myself saying “but I want to do ____ because it’s on my bucket list” more than once – so I decided to actually write out what is on said bucket list! My list does include a few things from my pre-marriage life (with my family) – and I know Joe’s list has a few more European destinations/items on it BUT I think this is a good jumping-off point for figuring out future travel plans 😉

  1. Float in the Dead Sea (Jordan/Israel)
  2. Kiss the Blarney Stone (Ireland)
  3. Spend the night in a yurt (Mongolia)
  4. Take a trip alone (Netherlands)
  5. Boat down the Bosphorus (Turkey)
  6. See a Blue Footed Booby (Galapagos)
  7. Pet a Hairy Coo (Highland Cow. The furry ones.) (UK)
  8. Floating Market (Thailand)
  9. Visit Machu Picchu (Peru)
  10. Visit Angkor Wat (Cambodia)
  11. Go whale watching (New England)
  12. Swim with pigs (Bahamas)
  13. See the Easter Island heads (Easter Island)
  14. Zip line through the jungle/rain forest (Costa Rica/Nicaragua)
  15. Visit the Sahara Desert (Morocco)
  16. See the Grand Canyon (Arizona, USA)
  17. See a race in Monte Carlo (Monaco)
  18. Go on a Safari (South Africa)
  19. See the Northern Lights (Iceland)
  20. Visit St. Basil’s Cathedral (Russia)
  21. Drink beer in Germany (Germany)
  22. Visit Madagascar (Madagascar)
  23. Visit the Himalayas (Nepal)

I’m sure there are so many things I’ve done with my family that are worthy of being on this list that have been left off, but I didn’t want to make my list too long (things like fish markets, Turkish baths, giant Buddhas, cruising down the Seine, and everything in Rome, perhaps.) To give you an idea, I started with a list of 10, but there are just SO MANY things I want to see and do. PLUS of course I can’t go too too long without a Disney-fix. Remember how I said my spirit animal is a hummingbird? I don’t do ‘nothing’ well.

And people wonder why Joe and I are waiting a while to have kids…pshhhhh. (Actually off-hand I can’t think of anyone wondering that, but that’s okay.)

Is there anything major I’m forgetting? Any suggestions to add to the list and make it an even 25? Let me know! 🙂

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PS: Oy, now I’m daydreaming about the Hammam in Istanbul….